Summary: In the first lesson of this series, we focus on three things: 1 - Everything Belongs to God. 2 - God gives us the Ability to Earn Money. 3 - The Pursuit of Money must be kept in Perspective.

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A. A Madison Avenue advertising agency surveyed non-church-going people several years ago and asked them their impressions of church.

1. The respondents said, “The problem with church is that the people are always sad, or they talk about death, or they ask for money.”

B. A classic joke goes something like this:

1. A mother of a young boy calls to her husband hysterically, “Henry, quick call the doctor, Johnny just swallowed a coin.”

2. Henry replies, “I think we should call the preacher rather than the doctor.”

3. His wife asks, “Why call the preacher?”

4. Henry replies, “The preacher can get money out of anybody!”

C. In response to these prevailing attitudes about churches, many churches today are upbeat, don’t say much about death, and rarely broach the offensive subject of money.

1. If you have been around Wetzel Road very long, then you know that we don’t talk about money all the time, but we do talk about it, because we are people of the Book, and the Bible talks about money a whole lot.

2. Because of the dangers and challenges regarding money, Jesus talked about it more than any other single topic.

3. So for that reason, without apology, I want us to spend the four Sundays of February exploring what the Bible has to say about money and how to use it.

4. I’m calling the series “Spiritual Dollars and Sense.”

5. We will be looking at what the Bible says about earning, spending, borrowing, saving and giving.

D. Over the years, some of the common teaching about money include the following principles, some of which have led to confusion and incorrect conclusions.

1. Many people have been taught what we might call Poverty Theology.

a. People who believe or teach this theology say that we should hate material things and that it is wrong to have money or material possessions.

b. They teach that poverty and spirituality are one and the same.

c. I do not believe that this is what the Bible teaches.

2. At the opposite extreme are those who have been taught the Prosperity Theology.

a. They believe that God promises that all who truly believe and obey will be blessed with riches. “God wants you to be a millionaire!”

b. This is often called the “health and wealth gospel” and it is pedaled by many TV preachers.

c. They say to their viewers, “Send your money and God will reward you.”

d. They promise, “The more money you give, the more money you will receive.”

e. Unfortunately for many, the only one who gets rewarded is the TV preacher with his mansion, private jet, and Rolls Royce.

f. I do not believe that the Bible teaches a prosperity theology.

3. We will be working toward the Proper Theology.

a. What we will discover is that the proper way to view our possessions is that they have been entrusted to us by God and we are given the responsibility for managing them.

b. We will discover that ultimately, God is the owner of everything – why don’t we start there

I. Everything Belongs to God.

A. God is the maker of heaven and earth, and therefore He is the owner of heaven and earth, right?

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